When I was a teen there were three games that I knew I was good at. Games that I’d spent hundreds of hours perfecting my skills in, games I’d mastered. One of those games was SoulCalibur. More specifically, SoulCalibur II for the GameCube. Oh and I was good at it, magnificent even. None of my friends could hold a candle to my skill with Link, Taki and Cervantes. Well all of them excluding my mate Anton. Dude had a way with Astaroth that nerfed most of my tactics, but this isn’t about him, or me for that matter. This is about SoulCalibur, the new SoulCalibur, SoulCalibur VI.
Since the success with Tomb Raider’s reboot it seems every developer is hopping on the wagon. SoulCalibur is newest series to join this trend, but confusingly Bandai Namco have chosen to continue the count from the last game. I’m not sure why they didn’t just go all the way and call it SoulCalibur (2018) like Square Enix did with the Tomb Raider series. Maybe it was an effort to trick old fans into believing it was a continuation, maybe I’m just overthinking it. What really matters is how good the game is, and how well it stacks up to its predecessors.
Compared to previous entries SoulCalibur VI has the least playable characters since the first SoulCalibur. I wish I could say I didn’t know why that is, but after seeing Tira as day one DLC, while encountering a clone of her in the game it’s clear that its monetization tactic. Heavy handed though it may be, it’s effective.
Number of characters per SoulCalibur Game:
- SC i: 20
- SC II: 26
- SC III: 28
- SC IV: 45
- SC V: 30
- SC VI: 21
The standard rooster includes most of the expected characters as well as a Guest. That guest being CD Projekt Red’s, The Witcher, Geralt of Rivia. Like past guest characters he fits perfectly in the game. With an arsenal of multiple swords and witcher magic at his disposal he’s sure to be a fan favorite. He even has his own story that explains why he’s there. Infact each character has their own story with the main plot following Kilik.
Story is not the main focus
If you’re not a fan of him it will likely be a drag. His journey sees him on a quest to destroy the cursed sword, Soul Edge. On this journey he meets a couple other characters with similar goals, resulting in them banding together against nightmare’s ranks.
As you might expect, this being a fighting game the story isn’t anything special. Its shallow, brief, and worst of all the voice acting delivery is flat. Even The Witcher who happens to be voiced by his original voice actor, Doug Cockle falls flat. This is likely poor direction, not the actors fault.
Story aside, the gameplay is really what matters in a game like this, and I’m happy to say it doesn’t disappoint. The controls are primarily the same as the last SoulCalibur with one new addition. This takes the form of a special strike that is activated using the LT/L2 trigger. This attack allows the player to clash with their opponent in a sort of rock paper system. Now I’ve somehow managed to be good at this, but quite frankly I’m not sure why. Special finishers also return, and so do armor breaking effects.
The Gameplay we love
Over the years this franchise hasn’t changed much, so fans should feel right at home with the controls. You still have vertical and horizontal attacks along with kicks and the ability to guard, side step, throws, jump, and run. Combos can be chained together by mixing high, medium and low horizontal and vertical attacks to devastating effect. Those who really learn these systems will dominate, while those who just want to have fun can still pick this up and play with ease. SoulCalibur has always had a low bar for entry with a high bar for mastery, and this entry carries that torch.
SoulCalibur VI is also a very good looking game. Characters look like you’d expect, and every outfit is customizable. You can even create your own characters, and those characters can even be used in a special story mode for created characters. Created characters use the same movesets for characters you have access to. Their armor, colors, and particle effects can be fully customized, and it’s one of the biggest highlights of the game.
This reboot of such an iconic franchise is easy to like if you’re a SoulCalibur fan who mains one of the included characters. It controls like you’d expect a SoulCaibur game to control and its visually what you’d expect too. The customizations are robust and can easily eat up most of your time. This game should be a perfect title to recommend, and I actually do recommend checking it out, but I must include a disclaimer with it.
A disclaimer to not buy the Tira DLC. If she’s your main then don’t get the game. It’s atrocious of Bandai Namco to take a veteran character and withhold her as DLC while including clones of her in the the game. It’s like selling a burger, removing part of the pattie, placing a picture of that part removed on the bag and offering to sell it to the customer. This is unnecessary, and for a good example just look at Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. That game has 68 characters and retails at a regular price of 60 dollars. Bandai Namco has no excuse. Tira shouldn’t be DLC, leave that for 2B and Geralt of Rivia.
The copy of SoulClaibur VI used for this review was provided to us by it’s publisher Bandai Namco.